The Skinny on Blogging: Incorporating Social Channels
For the second installment of my new series, “The Skinny on Blogging,” I will be talking about how to corporate social channels to the benefit of growing and supporting your blog. If you didn’t catch my first post introducing the series, you can check it out HERE. In that post I talked about the beginning steps to starting your blog and getting up and running.
The Purpose of Social Channels
Social channels are extremely important when it comes to blogging. Not only are they an opportunity to extend your reach and access a new audience, but they draw readers back to your blog each day if they don’t regularly follow your blog. Many people check Instagram and Facebook each day, but they may not necessarily visit your blog. Social channels give you an opportunity to announce your posts each day so readers are aware that there is new and exciting content on your blog.
In addition, you should be using social channels and your blog to cross-promote every single platform. Push your Instagram audience to your Facebook and your Facebook audience to your Twitter. If someone uses one social channel, they likely use a couple others. BUT always, always use your social channels to direct people to your blog. I can’t say that enough and you’ll probably be tired of hearing it by the end of this post. 🙂
A Common Misconception
Though it is a common misconception, many bloggers make the mistake of putting too much attention and pressure on social channels. It’s easy to grow an audience via social because there is such a large population on those channels, but your blog should always be your area of focus and where you should direct all your attention in growing your audience.
The reason for that is you cannot control third party platforms (i.e. social channels). The only thing you can have full control over is your blog, because after all that is what you own. Facebook owns your Facebook page and Instagram owns your Instagram account. Both of those platforms can go away at any second, and then what would you be left with? Your blog that you didn’t pay any attention to. That is not to say that you shouldn’t also focus on growing your social channels at all. Those are still very important, too. Brands also pay attention to your statistics on your social channels, especially Instagram. I am simply saying don’t neglect your blog and put all your energy into social channels only.
Unique Strategies for Each Social Platform
You should be using a different strategy on every social platform you use. Each platform has a different “type” of audience and therefore you should market to them differently. For instance, Instagram is a visual platform and your photos are the most important for that platform. I don’t recommend creating one caption and using the same thing across every channel because it will come off as repetitive and likely not be received well. What works on Twitter isn’t the same thing that works on Facebook. I will talk specifically about the 4 most popular channels: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Keep reading for details on how to use each platform and what the focus of your strategy should be to grow your audience in order to direct your readers to your blog.
As mentioned previously, Instagram is a visual platform. Your photos are the most important piece of content for this social platform. If you don’t have beautiful photos, your Instagram will get lost in the crowd. I personally love using witty/clever captions or a play on words, but I don’t necessarily think captions are important for Instagram. I’ve seen bloggers be really successful with the shortest/mediocre captions. Keep in mind, you always want to use your caption to direct your readers to your blog. Things like “visit my blog for more” or “visit the direct link in my bio to shop” are great instructions for your readers.
It’s also important for you to build a beautiful and consistent feed. This could mean many things. A theme, bright colors throughout your feed, perhaps it’s the level of exposure within your images (we will talk about photography in another installment of the series). Most commonly, bloggers implement a theme on their feed. Take @juliahengel and @happilygrey for instance. @juliahengel’s feed is uses a lot of pink throughout her feed and alternates between scenery/beauty photos and images of yourself. @happilygrey on the other hand uses darker, gray tones throughout her feed and has more of an edgy style. Find your brand and what works for you and stick to it. When people visit your feed, you want them to be drawn to follow it and having a consistent theme/feed will help with this.
Facebook is more of an editorial page. You can get away with more copy and longer captions than you could on any other social channel. Of course, don’t get too winded, but in my opinion people are most likely to spend the most amount of time reading on Facebook than Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest. My strategy on Facebook is usually copying the excerpt of my blog post into my Facebook page and using 1-3 of my favorite images to tease my blog post. I want to entice people to visit my blog for more, and increase page views. Don’t give them the full package but leave them wanting to visit your blog. Hopefully they’ll stay for a while and you’ll get more page views out of it.
I’m sure you are well aware that you are limited to 140 characters in your tweets. Twitter is meant for you to get to the point quickly with short and sweet captions. I generally use Twitter to announce my blog posts or provide clever/witty thoughts throughout the day. I also use Twitter to respond quickly to my readers. If they have a question, I ask them to tweet me and I can provide answers faster than I can responding to e-mails. But if I’m being honest, Twitter is probably my least focused social channel because I’m not a big reader myself (crazy, huh?). That doesn’t mean neglect it entirely because there is an audience there. I just don’t think it’s the primarily focus of social channels among bloggers.
In my opinion, Pinterest is probably the most important social channel when it comes to page views on your blog. I also feel it is the most under utilized channel. Bloggers don’t understand the purpose of Pinterest, so they neglect it. Pinterest is a search engine for creative seekers, and aren’t we all trying to reach the creatives. That is your main audience, people who crave style, travel, DIY, home decor and wedding inspiration. You should pin every single photo on your blog. Your captions on each pin should be more search engine based, such as what you would write in your alt tags for images on your blog. You want to include any copy that you think someone might use to search for your blog/photos. More often than not, the top referrer of page views to my blog is Pinterest. If you aren’t using it, get on it, and perhaps even take a Pinterest class or two to better understand how to utilize it.
Thank you so much for stopping by to read the second installment of my blogging series, “The Skinny on Blogging.” I hope you feel you learned something new about incorporating social channels with your blog. Don’t forget to check back next week for my third installment of the series on “Driving Traffic to your Blog and Growing it.”